Sri Lanka bracing for the onslaught of Cyclone Burevi

ECONOMYNEXT – Officials have begun moving people in coastal communities to safer ground, alerting search and rescue teams and preparing evacuation centres as cyclone Burevi barrels towards the North-Eastern part of the island.

Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament today that seven districts, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Batticaloa, Vavuniya and Puttalam were expected to be the worst hit.

Burevi, born out of a low-pressure system in the Bay of Bengal last week, is packing 100kmph winds and is expected to make landfall in Trincomalee around 11:00 pm tonight, December 2, according to the Disaster Management Centre and the Met Department.

The cyclone is expected to move across the island and exit via the Mannar basin in two days.

The coastal areas in the North and the East are expected to suffer the most and yesterday and today the authorities called on fishers to return from the sea and coastal vessels to be dragged as far inland as possible and tied up firmly.

The Sri Lanka Navy sailed its bigger vessels normally anchored in Trinco harbour to Hambantota and anchored them there the Navy spokesman told EconomyNext.

Rajapaksa said that local officials had inspected houses in the path of the cyclone and advised householders to cut down overhanging branches of trees and take other actions to ensure that the damage to their houses is minimized.

The Minister said that areas prone to flash floods had been identified and evacuation centres prepared in case that occurs.

He added that Armed Forces and Police have been alerted and search and rescue teams are on standby in the threatened areas.

The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) warned that the cyclone will bring a storm surge in the sea that will primarily affect the coastal areas.

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The spokesman for the DMC, Pradeep Kodipilli said that people in the coastal areas are advised to stay indoors and if possible go to concrete buildings and take shelter at this time.

In addition to the North and East, Burevi will bring strong winds and rain to a number of areas in the central and western parts of the island.

Severe warnings are in effect for the North Central Province as well as the Central, Sabaragamuwa, North Western and Western Provinces, Rajapaksa said. (Colombo, December 2, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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